What is cranial osteopathy?

News posted by Nikki Harris


Cranial osteopathy (also known as cranio-sacral therapy) is a gentle osteopathic specialty.  

How does it work?

Cranial osteopathy works with the body’s involuntary mechanisms, helping to restore a calming balance to natural bio-rhythms by means of light pressure on the bones of the skull.

Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle and subtle treatment, which seeks to encourage the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body.

What is the involuntary mechanism?

The involuntary mechanism (also known as the cranial rhythm) is a rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues.  A skilled osteopath can palpate (feel) this rhythm.

Dr. William Sutherland first described the involuntary mechanism during the early 1900s.  It is a very subtle movement, which may take many years to detect with proficiency.  Tensions within the body can disrupt the involuntary movement / cranial rhythm.

Aggravating factors

We feel our body tissues tighten during periods of accumulated stress and tension (e.g. physical and emotional stress).  Although our bodies are generally able to adapt to stress at the time, a lasting strain may remain.  Any remaining tension may be held in the body and can restrict its free movement. As time goes by, the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and eventually symptoms may develop.

What can be treated with cranial osteopathy?

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) dictates that we are unable to list any specific conditions and/or symptoms that may be treated with cranial osteopathy.  Until large-scale clinical trials with significant volumes of data have been collated, we remain in a difficult position with regards to our ability to advertise what we can treat.   On this basis, we invite you to get in touch by telephone so that we can discuss your child’s individual presentation and advise whether or not cranial osteopathy is likely to be of benefit.


Osteopathic treatment using the cranial approach is gentle, safe and effective for all ages. Very specific, skilled, light pressure is applied where necessary to assist the natural ability of the body to release stresses and tensions.

If you would like to discuss cranial osteopathy with Luke Johnson, please do not hesitate to get in touch today: 01525 290615 / [email protected]

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